Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Matrix (?)

I just finished watching The Matrix, and I’m sure I’ll get to watching the second and third movies in the series before too long, but I began to wonder; just what was the actual final resolution of the series? I have watched the entire series before and it seems to me that at the end of Matrix: Revolutions when Neo offers to fight Agent Smith the deal is that the Machine World will stop attacking Zion (the last remaining human city) and that any people jacked into the Matrix will be allowed to be removed from the Matrix. Okay.

It is insinuated in the first movie that there are millions of people being used by the machines as "living batteries". Humans are grown on farms and connected to the Matrix at a very early age. That is millions if not billions of people. Let’s just run with the current poplulation of the world as something to start with and say there are 7-billion people in connected up. Not all of them will want to leave the Matrix but say that one percent of them do. One Percent of 7-billion is 70-million people who will have to be unjacked, and have their muscles built up. They will have to be fed and cared for and will have to have somewhere to live once all is said and done. 70-million people is a lot of folks to have to integrate into a world where it doesn’t look like there is anything that can grow (no sun) and where drinkable water is scarce. Of course I may have missed something, but if not this seems like a loophole big enough to drive a truck through.

Anyway… Humouroceros

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Some new curtains...

The Iraqi prison, Abu Ghraib, has been reopened after almost three years. Those who have a passing familiarity with what we sometimes call "the news" will recall that in olden times Abu Ghraib was the prison where the police and security services under Saddam Hussein perfected their torture and execution techniques (also known in some quarters as 'enhanced interrogation and life retraction techniques'.) These practices were later continued by members of the US military when management was taken over in 2002, until it was all ruined by some spoilsports in the press (probably all liberals) who released photos of the enhanced hi-jinks going on in the prison. It wasn't long (if you consider two years "not long") before the prison was closed and the US military enhancers were put on trial for being too diligent in carrying out their duties.

Now here it is a few years later yet and after slapping on a new coat of paint, tossing in a couple of books and some plants, the prison formerly known as Abu Ghraib is all set to open up with a shiny new name; Baghdad Central Prison. The new name may not be as snappy as the old one was, but it will no doubt come as a great relief to those bad-guys and evil-doers who wind up incarcerated there. At least they won't be in that nasty old Abu Ghraib. I can't imagine how much of a relief that will be.

Anyway... Humouroceros

Friday, February 20, 2009

Paradigm shift - rock on

I suppose we all remember years back when Napster was the 'it' word for downloading music for "free" from the internet. If I remember correctly all the people who did this downloading thing were claiming it was in the best interest of the world-wide-web and it was all about freedom and everything. When asked whether the artists who created this music should be payed for their art, many of these 'free-thinkers' would say that the musical artists are all ba-jillionairs and it was only right that they share their music for free. Rumour has it that many of these same people (the 'free-thinkers' that is) went on to practice what they preached and worked for free, and ended up living in dumpsters and under bridges, wondering what the heck happened to the world of freedom that they had so clearly seen in those heady, crazy days when everything looked possible and mommy and daddy paid the bills.

Well even back then there were actual bands that stood up and dared to say, "we want to be paid for what we do!" I believe that Metallica was the first to speak up, and they took a fair amount of flack for it, too. "Greedy", they were called for daring to want to be paid for their work. It appeared that old-style capitalism was rearing it's ugly head in the land of rock 'n roll, and the usual crew didn't like it, having to pay for their wants. On one hand I can sort of understand what the usual crew was talking about. Rock 'n roll has traditionally meant freedom, but those lives of excess that our favourite rockers live costs money. Generally lots of money, and by my lights that's just fine. I think where the disconnect was, was that formerly it just wasn't easy to get your music for free. Then everybody with a computer and a high-speed connection could pull as much free music off the 'net as they had hard-drive space for, and obviously if they could do it, it must be right and okay. Well, the fact is that it wasn't right and it wasn't okay. The only thing was how to use the internet in a way that the bands were paid for what they did.

Oddly enough, Metallica once again is taking the fore-front (or at least they are in the top ten) in the "music-wars" and this is a good thing. With the CD, St. Anger, they included a DVD of the band playing every song on the disc in 5.1 sound. Regardless of what you think of the disc, the video is cool. On the Metallica web-site, you can download many of their concerts, and a lot of them are free. Now I'm sure that Metallica isn't the only band who decided to face this internet thing face-on, but they are the only one I have come across and it shows a degree of originality and ingenuity that I wish more bands would follow.

There are also sites where you can buy the individual songs that you want, and although I think the individual prices are a little high just now, I'm sure they are going to come down eventually. And to those who still claim that it is the birth-right of all interneters to get their music for free; you guys are just thieves. Be honest about it. How's that sound?

Anyway... Humouroceros

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A good commercial

So I was waiting for the first coat of paint to dry. I flicked on the tube figuring that it couldn't always be bad and what the hey but Corner Gas is on. Cool I figured while I settle back to check out what crazy hijinks Brett and the gang were up to today. Of course it wasn't too long before I was smack into the middle of a bunch of commercials, including that new Smarties one with a bunch of duos singing the song Everyday People. I have to wonder; why can't all commercials be that good? It's just a flat-out cool commercial, and I don't even eat Smarties. Madison Avenue should just pull their collective heads out of their butts and make more commercials like this. If we have to watch commercials then they at least should be watchable.

Anyway... Humouroceros

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I was doing a cross-word the other day and one of the clues was 'Belligerent god'. I was thinking, what kind of a vague clue is that? From what I understand, they're all belligerent.

Anyway... Humouroceros

Monday, February 09, 2009

Revised 2010 Olympic logo - Mark II

Anyway... Humouroceros

Sunday, February 08, 2009


The most widely used keyboard design in the English-speaking world is called “QWERTY” and was patented in 1874 by Christopher Sholes of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. Mister Sholes was a newspaper publisher who decided that a practical typewriter was the future of newspaper publishing (he also wanted to get rid of the pesky Printing-Press Compositor union, which was working towards better working conditions and wages for the working people of the time. As if the abolition in 1870 of the Testicle-clamp work-incentivizer hadn’t been enough. Typical unions, always wanting more. Slackers.) His quest had been to find a configuration of letters that would prevent the manual machines of the day from jamming when people typed too fast (which is almost funny when you think about it. How many business owners want their employees to slow down?) The configuration Mister Sholes came up with was called QWERTY after the first six letters on the top row, and the rest is history.

The QWERTY configuration is still the most common keyboard system used today, with the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard (right or left) coming in a close second. Over the years many other configurations have been developed, more so with the advent and the ubiquitiousness of the modern home computer (both PCs and Macs). It’s not something that the home computing industry likes to talk about, but it is still possible to type too fast, even for a computer (although it must be admitted that to type too fast for modern computer processors one has to be in the 250+ Words Per Minute range. Good work if you can get it.) Rather than the old problem of the letter strike-keys sticking, which is frustrating and time consuming to correct, someone typing too fast on a computer may cause the computer to “crash”, which can be a costly situation. Obviously once again the lesser of two evils was to slow the employees down.

The first of the new keyboard configurations was introduced in 1995 and was called the Ab-tac back-key system. This configuration is essentially QWERTY, except the letters W, I, O and M are all hidden on the bottom of the keyboard. It was found that once the typist had to turn the keyboard over to type these letters even the best typist could be kept to under 120 WPM. Of course that was at first and it wasn’t too long before the young people entering the typing-pool managed to work their way around this and speeds began to pick up again. In early 2001 the Enhanced Ab-tac back-key system Mark II was introduced and the letter T was added to those already on the bottom, and the stipulation was added that any typist had to obtain permission from a supervisor before being allowed to use any of the letters on the bottom of the keyboard. Average typing speed once again slowed and computer “crashes” declined. The resourcefulness of youth stepped to the fore again and with the advent of texting, and the resulting abbreviations, speeds are once again beginning to speed up.

Late in 2008 the Double-enhanced Ab-tac back-key system Mark III “hidden letter” design was introduced. In this design all of the keys are secreted around the office and it is up to the typist to find them, use them once, them hand them off to a supervisor for rehiding. This has been described as the ultimate in typing speed retardation technique, and was voted best business innovation of 2008 by the Business Association Committee in the United States.

It’s a long way from the original QWERTY design, but the end result is the same and so it only seems right to thank Mister Christopher Sholes for his leading steps in this great journey. Thanks, Chris. You da bomb.

Anyway… Humouroceros

Sholes original design for the QWERTY type writer.

Note that the #1 is missing. This was to make it impossible to type the number '13', which was considered unlucky. You will also note that the #0 is missing. They just forgot that one.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Another pig from the trough

Federal Human Resources Minister, Diane Finley, yanked her snout out of the gravy-train trough in Ottawa long enough to grunt out the Conservative government’s reason for opposing raising Employment Insurance payments for folks who are losing their jobs during this economic mess we are all finding ourselves in these days. “We do not want to make it lucrative for them to stay home and get paid for it,” slobbered the Minister before she slapped her face back into the swill-tank. Yeah, that’s right, Diane, that’s a great view of the average Canadian worker. Lazy and just waiting for his or her job to end so s/he can kick back and live of the fat of the land, E.I.-wise.

I can picture his Canada that exists in the “brain” of Minister Diane Finley. A Canada where every time another 1000, 2000 or 3000 Canadians lose their jobs everybody within earshot is deafened by the howls of joy. Apparently the common thought held by these newly unemployed is, “time to sit in front of the new flat-screen with a 2-4 of brew and a carton of darts and watch hockey all the live-long day! Ya-hoo! Happy days are here again!” Hmmm…

Maybe that is how life is in Diane’s own family, or perhaps in her riding of Haldimand-Norfolk in southern Ontario, but out here in the real world things are a little different. Many of the people I know who have lost their jobs recently are devastated. You see, Diane, when one place shuts down throwing X number of people out of work, another place does not automatically open up to reabsorb them back into the workforce. And that especially does not happen when the economy is going for a big dump like it is now. As I see it now, Diane, if you and I were to look into the eyes of someone who was newly unemployed, who had just lost a job that they had held for DECADES, then I would see someone who had just had their world ripped apart. You apparently would see someone who is ready to live the easy E.I life. Yeah, that is officer thinking there, Diane. Good compassion, as long as “compassion” means “contempt”.

Canadians have noticed that the only time that all of Parliament is on the same page is when they get together to vote themselves pay raises. Now that sounds pretty lucrative to me, having control of your own pay like that, but then this is where I am sure that Minister Diane shines. You know, when she breaks party lines to vote against any pay raises for Ministers of Parliament. Right, Diane, right?

No, I didn’t really think so.

Anyway… Humourceros